Sunday, December 30, 2012

Possibly the best cut-out Gingerbread cookies


Story of a family recipe found, lost and found again


The Recipe


1/2 lb butter (2 sticks)
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 egg
3 and 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
Juice and zest of 1 orange

Cream the butter,sugar and molasses until well mixed. Add the egg. Mix again. Add the zest grated off the orange and the juice you squeezed out of it.

Mix the dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture. Combine thoroughly.

Wrap or put bowl in the refrigerator until chilled through and stiff.
Roll out dough on a floured surface. Use cookie cutters to cut out cute shapes. Transfer onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees until light browning is seen at the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes.

The Story
And I've been a witness to the tale and will retell it here.Mom got the recipe through the Vasa Lodge about 1967 or 1968, maybe a few years before then. The Vasa Lodge is a benefit fraternal organization for Swedish immigrants to which my parents to belonged.The only person that can argue or more accurately pinpoint the date is my brother and I am relatively certain he does not actively read my blog.
 After my mother Ingeborg first baked these cookies, they immediately became one of our Christmas standards. Inga had other pepparkakor recipes, but we just loved the extra dimension made by adding orange to the dough.

Sadly, one Christmas many years later, maybe after she moved from the house on Wauwatosa Road to the one in Cedarburg, the handwritten 3 x 5 recipe card had disappeared. It no longer lived in the green rosemaling-decorated, metal recipe box. Old Swedish friends were called and research was done at the local library to no avail. No one had a copy of the recipe.

Christmas went on, but with different pepparkakor. Cookies that were adequate, but not quite as delicious.

Then, the cookies showed up at my mother-in-laws! My all dutch-all the time mother-in-law had the recipe. I had passed the recipe along years before and forgotten about doing so.

To make sure this recipe did not disappear again, I purchased an 8 x 10 framed picture at the thrift store. Took the picture out and replaced it with a drawing and the recipe. That picture now hangs at my nephews house. One holiday, when I could not easily find the recipe, I asked him to photograph the framed recipe and post it to facebook. Now it will also live on my blog.

Hope you find these cookies to your liking.